All is well with the world


By Marilyn Delk


Our community is blessed with many assets; one of those blessings is the Sumday night Greenville Municipal Band concerts in Greenville City Park. Those concerts are not new, not an innovation, but a time-honored tradition that began in the late 1800’s with the “Silver Cornet Band” which performed in the 1870’s and continued with the apperance of an ensemble led by Professor Michael Miller of Dayton, “one of the most thoroughly educated and practical musician in the State” on July 4, 1883 and again on August 22 of that same year. Contemporary reports indicate that those concerts were “well-appreciated,” a reaction that continues for concert-goers to this day.

Some concern existed this year regarding the ability to present performances in Greenville City Park following the recent tornado which had taken down or damaged a majority of the grand old trees sheltering the area; however the amazing effort by Greenville City employees to clean up debris as well as the miracle that was the sparing of any damage to Marling Band Shell where the concerts are held made possible the continuation of this well-loved summer tradition. The band shell itself, completed in 1934, is a much-revered treasure, offering great acoustics as well as an almost-perfect setting for performances.

The musicians who make up the Municipal Band come from a wide range of age groups ranging from teens to—well, to the elderly (like me and others in the diverse audience.) Some of the members teach music in area schools, but many have or are retired from jobs unrelated to music, and simply relish the opportunity to continue sharing the joy of presenting melodic enlightenment and entertainment to their appreciative neighbors. The band’s other gig in addition to the concerts in the park comes during Darke County’s biggest festival when the group brings its talents to accompany between-races spots during the Gene Riegle Memorial at the Great Darke County Fair

J.R. Price is in his fifteenth year as the band’s conductor, and continues to take pride in the quality of music presented as well as the loyalty of those who attend the performances, feelings shared by Assistant Conductor Doug Albright, whose musical credentials among local citizens were reinforced by his impressive solo during the Band’s opening concert on June 30. John and Chelsea Whirledge are frequent vocalists with the group, sharing their talents in an impressive array of musical styles and genres.

The obvious camarederie that exists among the band members extends to the appreciative concert attendees, exuding the joy integral to having a good time with old friends while welcoming newcomers with open arms. Even those attendees arriving in a grumpy state of mind cannot maintain their scowls, as the music soars, elevating moods and lifting spirits.

Longevity may not necessarily be an indicator of inherent value, but in this case, the fact that an old person like me is currently enjoying music performed by an organization begun before my grandparents were born seems amazing, adding heft to the value of that organization. The band’s repertoire is not entirely made up of Sousa marches and patriotic songs; decidedly contemporary music can also be heard on Sundays in the park. The breadth and range of music presented can and does appeal to a broad audience, sometimes introducing never-before-heard songs to those of all ages, whether that condition exists because the music was written long ago or is an up-to-the minute composition.

Sunday band concerts in the park have stood the test of time, and still instigate positive reactions among diverse groups of people who may not agree on much else. Prior to the concert, an air of eager anticipation fills the crowd, and when the music ends, concert-goers leave with a feeling of joyous satisfaction with the world. Music transcends moods, differences of opinion, discomforts and concerns, transmitting an air of peace and goodwill that will extend, at least for a little while, throughout the community. For one moment in time, all is well with the world.

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